#NGTiP09 Portfolio typology further to Flourish

Eportfolio needs to be discussed in respect of at least four dimensions:

1 Process
– collection, selection, reflection, presentation

2 Tools and artefacts:
– portfolio: items, systems, presentations (CV, assessed piece of work, etc)

3 Areas of application:
– PDP, CPD, PDR, competency assessment, personal reflection

4 Cultures of use:
– Disciplines, educational sector, professional bodies, learner preference, maturity, aptitude, attitude

Eportfolio processes are done with tools to produce artefacts for particular purposes. The tool and its habit of use has an effect on the shape of the artefact that it produces. The culture of the site of application determines the habit of use of the tool: there is a “way things are done ’round here.”

One size won’t fit all.

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using eportfolio for HE staff CPD and Professional Review – with a Flourish

The Flourish project:

Flourish, funded by the JISC, looked at eportfolio for HE staff in annual appraisal, accredited PGCert in Teaching in HE course, and CPD/Training. They used PebblePad in a “low-risk” environment running workshops, elearning retreats, staff information sharing channels, and using it with students.

The key message is if you want to use an eP for students you need to use it with staff first.

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Oooh! Firefox 3. Hope I haven’t wrecked everything

I just went and deleted reliable Firefox and dumped 3.0.7 into my applications folder. And now, I try to remember which things I had to struggle with six months ago. It chucked out my Piggy Bank, but that was something from MIT Media Lab that never really worked for me. The Delicious button couldn’t be updated but the whole Diigo toolbar is there and working (sorry Delicious). And Zotero is there but I do not use it, so, would I have missed it?

More worrying, of course, are all the embedded applets and players: Flash 4, Silverlight, Quicktime Player and heaven knows what else makes the Web work that I have forgotten about. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

Even more worrying 😉 I am not sure 3 is prettier than 2. As vanilla, the chrome is, well, kind of like Chrome: German industrial metal. Might have to find some soft-edged skin (yeah, like I spend my time doing that).

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Tried using Posterous for a group writing exercise; not a top success

I thought that Posterous might be a useful, easy, collaboration tool. The barriers to entry are low and the user interface is email. However, it didn’t really work. I made a crucial, but probably inevitable, mistake. And, for sharers there is the need to create an account. I hadn’t counted on that. I thought that by nominating a number of email addresses that those addresses would just be able to post.

The mistake was setting up a new Posterous blog in my existing account and sharing it with a number of collaborators. This meant that all the profile information and “post everywhere” stuff was active for the new blog, too. There wasn’t a separate group identity. I had to delete all my personal stuff just so it didn’t look like everyone was posting to my blog. And, all of a sudden the group posts were appearing in my Twitter account and other blogs. I had to turn off the post everywhere feature.

What would have been better: create a new Posterous account. But, this would have required a new email. Posterous is so easy because it ties your blog to your email. It receives an email from x@y and bangs it into a@y’s blog. Dead simple. This makes it a great personal tool but not a great collaborative tool.

The work around that springs to mind would be setting up a new e-mail account for each new Posterous and then nominating your primary account as a collaborator along with other collaborators. But, hey, get a wiki.

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Posterous has closed the camera, phone, Flickr loop for me

I was mildly annoyed (a usual state for me) a year or three ago when Ericsson bundled Blogger in the firmware of their good camera phones. I didn’t want to set up a Blogger ID, all I wanted to do was post to Flickr. For a while I tried to use Shozu (http://www.shozu.com/portal/index.do), but its Java applet crashed my phone. Repeatedly. I expect things are better these days. Now, of course, Flickr has email uploader addresses and phones pretty much come with mail accounts nnn@telco.com but I never really got my head around them. Then, I stumbled on Posterous via Iain Dodsworth’s TweetDeck blog (http://tweetdeck.posterous.com/). Posterous has about the easiest sign-up facility of any site, ever, and an “autopost to everywhere” service (http://posterous.com/autopost) that lets you send mails to e.g. flickr@posterous.com. So, I activated my dormant 3-mail account told posterous that it was mine and, snap. Take a pic and email to flickr@posterous.com. It just works. I like services like that. My posterous is here.

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Open and blended histories

Thanks to Stephen Downes, yet again, for pointing out Terry Anderson’s excellent piece on Open, distance, e-learning and other name confusion in his always useful Virtual Canuk blog. As Terry noted there has been a lot written on the subject. I was reminded of two pieces of work.

Robin Mason and Frank Rennie recently produced an elearning lexicon, E-Learning, the key concepts. I have a quibble with their conflation of e- and distance learning, but it is a very useful work which as much as resolving, illustrates the problems of trying to resolve definitions in a politicised field: micro institutional as well as in respect of national and international educational policies (q.v. one laptop per child project).

I was also reminded of work I contributed to an article for the UK Higher Education Academy on the Undergraduate experience of blended learning (citation below, link to pdf) by colleagues at Brookes.

Continue reading “Open and blended histories”

A digital identity question for parents

An interesting question is raised by a Design Pattern problem, Others First, identified by Yishay Mor in the Pattern Language Network wiki:

Parents who create an online identity for themselves that includes any images of and text about their children inevitably create an online identity for those children. The children have no control over how they are presented or who they are presented to.

I include images of my child in online repositories, some open some private. So this led me to ask whether the problem identified, for it is a problem, was expressed to address a narrow and particular issue or a broad and general issue. Continue reading “A digital identity question for parents”

Immersive interfaces for learning

Another very useful Berkman talk on Immersive Interfaces by Chris Dede, Timothy E Wirth professor of Learning Technologies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Dede develops a typology of immersive interfaces and illustrates their application in US middle schools. Even more usefully he presents a simple analytical framework for discussing immersive environments for learning: is it an environment or is it an interface? And, as frosting on the cake he gives sound cultural and pedagogical arguments for the use of immersive technologies in education.